Monday, June 4, 2007

Time to Talk Peace (thanks, Eldad)

As part of its Jewish New Year's edition Israel largest circulating newspaper, Yediot Acharonot, asked several prominent Israelis for a message for the coming year. This is from former Israeli Education Minister and long time member of Knesset Shulamit Aloni.

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Time to talk peace
[Hebrew heading: Time to replace the Occupation Disk]

Israel's leaders must change mindset, engage in dialogue with Palestinians
Shulamit Aloni

In a few months, we will mark 40 years of "enlightened" occupation by our famed army in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. Israel pretends to be an enlightened state and signatory of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that "the Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies" (Israel ratified the Convention in 1951).

Over the years we deported, robbed land and stole water, destroyed crops, uprooted trees, turned every village and town into a detention camp, and set up hundreds of settlements on land that doesn't belong to us.

We allowed the settlers to make a living by providing them with huge amounts of money (more than five times per capita compared to residents of Israeli southern development towns).

We paved splendid roads for Jews only, a case of blatant apartheid, while defending it using convoluted, Jewish self-righteous logic in the absence of fair and public reporting of the budgets involved, deeds committed, expropriation of land, and disregard for vandalism.

Morality, justice, law and order stopped at the Green Line [pre-67 borders- Trans]. There is no judge and no justice. Lawlessness prevailed right under the noses and protective and soothing hand of the IDF and police, as lawbreaking settlers made their own laws undisturbed, and at times with the generous help of authorities.

Every illegal settlement enjoys water, electricity, and a paved road. The indigenous inhabitants, which the Israeli regime had to take care of, became seemingly non-existent, as we call them, "present absentees." The authorities only notice them if they bother them by filing complaints.

It's no wonder that the leader of a political movement in Israel and a Knesset member can declare that we should expel the Palestinians (and also Israel's Arab citizens) in order to take over what is still left to them.

But as we usually present it ˆ we're the victim while they're the murderers with blood on their hands. We never publicise the number of Palestinians we have murdered from the sky and killed by fire - women, children, the elderly, whole families, thousands of them.

We use aerial bombings to liquidate a wanted suspect, in the process liquidating many civilians - yet the hands of the pilot are "clean" of any blood. After all, the victims were killed at the press of a button while their killers returned home safely. None of them committed suicide to kill wanted suspects, who, by the way are not a "ticking bomb" and no evidence exists against them.

At times it appears that the IDF, particularly during the last, needless Lebanon war, turns the Gaza Strip into live-fire training grounds for all defence force's branches. Is it any wonder they hate us, and is it any wonder they elected Hamas in free elections, the same Hamas whose establishment we encouraged in order to undermine the PLO?

Don‚t know and don‚t want to talk

Many peace-making windows of opportunity have been opened over the years. We thwarted all of them, because we coveted the whole of the Territories. We had the Oslo agreements. Twenty countries, which in the past had no ties with us, have recognised Israel. We had new openings, international ties were blossoming, peace was at our doorway ˆ but we didn't want to make concessions.

Rabin was murdered for the sake of the settlers, and the task of burying peace-making attempts was completed by Ehud Barak with his "There's nobody to talk to!" spin. In order to establish himself in power, Barak also allowed Arik Sharon to visit Temple Mount with armed escorts, even though he was asked by Arafat the night before not to allow this because of the frustration and fury among Palestinians this would cause.

Now, another possibility for dialogue has opened. Yet our government is again turning its back on it. They don't know how to and don't want to talk. Just recently we brutally destroyed half of Lebanon at an immense cost and turned a million civilians into refugees in their own country - yet another splendid achievement by the IDF and government of Israel. We're willing to resort to any provocation and blow any incident out of proportion, just to hold on to the regular pretext that "there's nobody to talk to", and that we don't talk to terrorists.

Yet the acts we undertake by starving, curfews, deportations, the theft of water and land, false arrests, and liquidations - all those are, of course, not terror, because the acts are undertaken by a national army through the power of decisions made by legitimate government.

Wonderful, it turns out we forget the fascist states (including Stalin's USSR) that were highly legitimate according to their own logic, while committing a plethora of terror acts.

The time has come for the government of Israel to start talking peace, and end the excuses for disqualifying and boycotting Palestinian representatives. Resorting to the use of arms does not have to be the first reaction. Starvation, imprisonment, and expropriation by an occupying force attest to an unwillingness to reach an agreement and an addiction to greed.

This is reminiscent of Benny Elon's comment: "We'll embitter their lives so that they transfer themselves elsewhere."

One cannot escape the impression that the racist and brutal declarations by Effie Eitam gave public expression to long-standing government policy. We must note that the courts - the defenders of law and order, including the High Court of Justice - have been part and parcel of the developments that led to the legitimisation of parties and Knesset members along the lines of the racist, crude words uttered by MK Eitam.

In fact, it looks as though Meir Kahane won, and we are continuing in his path - we don't talk, but rather only kill, raze homes and roads and bridges, cut off electricity, remove vegetation, fill prisons with women and children and elected officials, because all of them are the "terrorists" while we, the Jewish state, need to be defended from them. We're always the ultimate victim.

As Golda Meir said: "I don't forgive the Arabs for forcing us to kill them." There you go, she's the killer, yet she's the victim.

For our sake, the citizens of Israel, and for the sake of bringing peace and quiet - government leaders, start talking and keep doing it until you reach an agreement!

Our unruly sons will be brought back to the country, we'll be respecting UN resolutions and international conventions, we'll earnestly memorise the universal human rights declaration and our own declaration of independence, we'll rehabilitate our soul, and we'll attempt to establish a democratic country governed by law and justice. Shana Tova.
Time to talk peace
[Hebrew heading: Time to replace the Occupation Disk]

Israel's leaders must change mindset, engage in dialogue with Palestinians
Shulamit Aloni

In a few months, we will mark 40 years of "enlightened" occupation by our famed army in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. Israel pretends to be an enlightened state and signatory of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that "the Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies" (Israel ratified the Convention in 1951).

Over the years we deported, robbed land and stole water, destroyed crops, uprooted trees, turned every village and town into a detention camp, and set up hundreds of settlements on land that doesn't belong to us.

We allowed the settlers to make a living by providing them with huge amounts of money (more than five times per capita compared to residents of Israeli southern development towns).

We paved splendid roads for Jews only, a case of blatant apartheid, while defending it using convoluted, Jewish self-righteous logic in the absence of fair and public reporting of the budgets involved, deeds committed, expropriation of land, and disregard for vandalism.

Morality, justice, law and order stopped at the Green Line [pre-67 borders- Trans]. There is no judge and no justice. Lawlessness prevailed right under the noses and protective and soothing hand of the IDF and police, as lawbreaking settlers made their own laws undisturbed, and at times with the generous help of authorities.

Every illegal settlement enjoys water, electricity, and a paved road. The indigenous inhabitants, which the Israeli regime had to take care of, became seemingly non-existent, as we call them, "present absentees." The authorities only notice them if they bother them by filing complaints.

It's no wonder that the leader of a political movement in Israel and a Knesset member can declare that we should expel the Palestinians (and also Israel's Arab citizens) in order to take over what is still left to them.

But as we usually present it ˆ we're the victim while they're the murderers with blood on their hands. We never publicise the number of Palestinians we have murdered from the sky and killed by fire - women, children, the elderly, whole families, thousands of them.

We use aerial bombings to liquidate a wanted suspect, in the process liquidating many civilians - yet the hands of the pilot are "clean" of any blood. After all, the victims were killed at the press of a button while their killers returned home safely. None of them committed suicide to kill wanted suspects, who, by the way are not a "ticking bomb" and no evidence exists against them.

At times it appears that the IDF, particularly during the last, needless Lebanon war, turns the Gaza Strip into live-fire training grounds for all defence force's branches. Is it any wonder they hate us, and is it any wonder they elected Hamas in free elections, the same Hamas whose establishment we encouraged in order to undermine the PLO?

Don‚t know and don‚t want to talk

Many peace-making windows of opportunity have been opened over the years. We thwarted all of them, because we coveted the whole of the Territories. We had the Oslo agreements. Twenty countries, which in the past had no ties with us, have recognised Israel. We had new openings, international ties were blossoming, peace was at our doorway ˆ but we didn't want to make concessions.

Rabin was murdered for the sake of the settlers, and the task of burying peace-making attempts was completed by Ehud Barak with his "There's nobody to talk to!" spin. In order to establish himself in power, Barak also allowed Arik Sharon to visit Temple Mount with armed escorts, even though he was asked by Arafat the night before not to allow this because of the frustration and fury among Palestinians this would cause.

Now, another possibility for dialogue has opened. Yet our government is again turning its back on it. They don't know how to and don't want to talk. Just recently we brutally destroyed half of Lebanon at an immense cost and turned a million civilians into refugees in their own country - yet another splendid achievement by the IDF and government of Israel. We're willing to resort to any provocation and blow any incident out of proportion, just to hold on to the regular pretext that "there's nobody to talk to", and that we don't talk to terrorists.

Yet the acts we undertake by starving, curfews, deportations, the theft of water and land, false arrests, and liquidations - all those are, of course, not terror, because the acts are undertaken by a national army through the power of decisions made by legitimate government.

Wonderful, it turns out we forget the fascist states (including Stalin's USSR) that were highly legitimate according to their own logic, while committing a plethora of terror acts.

The time has come for the government of Israel to start talking peace, and end the excuses for disqualifying and boycotting Palestinian representatives. Resorting to the use of arms does not have to be the first reaction. Starvation, imprisonment, and expropriation by an occupying force attest to an unwillingness to reach an agreement and an addiction to greed.

This is reminiscent of Benny Elon's comment: "We'll embitter their lives so that they transfer themselves elsewhere."

One cannot escape the impression that the racist and brutal declarations by Effie Eitam gave public expression to long-standing government policy. We must note that the courts - the defenders of law and order, including the High Court of Justice - have been part and parcel of the developments that led to the legitimisation of parties and Knesset members along the lines of the racist, crude words uttered by MK Eitam.

In fact, it looks as though Meir Kahane won, and we are continuing in his path - we don't talk, but rather only kill, raze homes and roads and bridges, cut off electricity, remove vegetation, fill prisons with women and children and elected officials, because all of them are the "terrorists" while we, the Jewish state, need to be defended from them. We're always the ultimate victim.

As Golda Meir said: "I don't forgive the Arabs for forcing us to kill them." There you go, she's the killer, yet she's the victim.

For our sake, the citizens of Israel, and for the sake of bringing peace and quiet - government leaders, start talking and keep doing it until you reach an agreement!

Our unruly sons will be brought back to the country, we'll be respecting UN resolutions and international conventions, we'll earnestly memorise the universal human rights declaration and our own declaration of independence, we'll rehabilitate our soul, and we'll attempt to establish a democratic country governed by law and justice. Shana Tova.

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